Other than a quarterfinal berth in the Junior World Cup hockey tournament, honour was at stake for India. The host managed a 3-3 draw in a high voltage Pool C cliff-hanger, interrupted by scores of video referrals, and left the field with lowered heads after failing to reach the knockout stage at the National Stadium here on Tuesday.
India, which had a lowly ninth place finish in the previous edition, tied with Korea on four points but lagged behind on goal difference and would play for ninth to 16th position. Korea fixed a quarters clash with Malaysia.
Knowing fully well that it would be difficult to get past the home team in the do-or-die match, the Koreans had done their home work well. Playing a highly physical game, which invited two yellow cards and a green in the first half, they denied the Indians any space and troubled with sharp counterattacks.
Seungju You gave Korea the lead by converting the third penalty corner in the 16th minute.
Indians were far less organized, struggling with their passing and stopping. Some moves upfront lacked coordination and the desperate home players resorted to slapshots to penetrate the crowded Korean circle.
A freak mistake in trapping by a Korean defender earned India its third short corner and the reliable Gurjinder Singh leveled the scores with a high flick in the 32nd minute. Seconds prior the break, Gurjinder replayed his shot to turn the script around.
India held and attacked in the second period and reaped the benefits. Satbir Singh timely relayed Ramandeep’s precise cross and Mandeep Singh dived to spectacularly put it in.
But You struck in quick succession to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-3 as Indians missed a few opportunities.The Netherlands tops group
The Netherlands trounced Canada 7-0 to end up at the summit of Pool C with nine points. The Dutch team set up a quarters date with New Zealand.
Germany outplayed Egypt 6-0 in its last Pool A match and entered the quarterfinals with six points.
Pakistan played out a 2-2 draw with Belgium to crash out of the quarterfinals race with four points.
Belgium, which topped Pool A with seven points, will meet France, while Germany, which collected six, will take on Pool B leader Australia in the last eight on Thursday.
The results: Pool A: Germany 6 (Own goal 4; Niklas Bruns 19, 68; Christopher Ruhr 42, 56; Mathias Muller 52) bt Egypt 0; Belgium 2 (Maxime Plennevaux 60, 65) drew with Pakistan 2 (Muhammad Dilber 41, 54).
Pool C: Netherlands 7 (Tom Hiebendaal 10; Rik van Kan 21; Milan van Baal 23, 47; Roel Bovendeert 34, 64; Tristan Algera 57) bt Canada 0; India 3 (Gurjinder Singh 32, 35+, Mandeep Singh 11) drew with Korea 3 (Seungju You 16, 58, 60).
Keywords: Junior World Cup hockey tournament